Quick: where are you going to watch the Super Bowl?
It’s not a decision to take lightly. This is, after all, TV’s biggest night of the year. The 2011 Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers was the most-watched TV event in U.S. history, with 163 million viewers. And every year, the pressure is on to find the best place to enjoy the action.
First things first: there’s no need to settle for your own couch—or the obligatory grocery store runs. The sports bar is a credit to the American way of life, and there is no better time to patronize one than during this most vaunted of all sports celebrations. Cheap drinks, simple food, and strangers to cheer with and root against—it’s a simple formula that, when done right, makes you feel like you are at home, with no cleanup required.
Finding the right sports bar for the Super Bowl, however, means more than just wandering into the nearest joint with a TV behind the taps. There is a delicate balance to master: more upbeat than uptown; down home, not down at heel.
Of course, you’re going to need a good view of a high-definition screen—the more the merrier and the bigger the better—a reliable source of beer and bar food, and the company of like-minded sports fans, the kind you can have an intelligent conversation about two-point conversions with. (Or, at the very least, someone who can help you critically deconstruct the halftime performance.)
You want a place that befits excessive celebration or can provide you with all the comforts a devastating loss demands. In a city like Miami, this might mean plenty of outdoor seating (and screens) so you can soak up the sunshine during the game. In Baltimore, you probably want to hang out with the most loyal Ravens fans on the planet, and if you’re in Vegas, you’ll want to be close to a betting window.
Tried-and-true or new with a twist, each spot on our list of the Best Bars for Watching the Super Bowl offers a casual, affordable atmosphere, solid beer choices, good grub, and a crowd that lives and breathes football.